Frank Brunger Remembered
Frank Brunger, formerly at Braveworld, Columbia TriStar and Warner Vision has sadly died at the age of 63 years old. A hugely popular character, the news of the untimely passing of he former record company executive (see below) and industry veteran was met with reminiscences and tributes from friends and former colleagues across the industry. Here we remember Frank Brunger with thoughts from his old pals…
“I worked with Frank, for several years at RCA/Columbia, it was the late eighties and he had joined us from Braveworld.
“Prior to that , I believe he was at EMI, his claim to fame being he launched Joan Jett and the Blackhearts with I Love Rock N Roll, one of my fondest memories of Frank was enticing him to do a Karaoke version of this, in a bar in Maui at 4 in the morning.. . he emptied the place! It was just at the launch of Retail, an amazing time and Frank was such an energetic, open, honest and above all passionate executive, it was a real pleasure to work with him. I found his sense of humour and ambition for the industry inspiring and he took real pleasure in doing the things that had not been done before. As a couple of people have said to me this week, “Frank was one of the good guys, a real good guy”. He is very sadly missed, by all who knew and worked with him.”
Aodan Coburn, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (formerly Columbia TriStar)
“Very sorry to hear the news regarding Frank Brunger, a lovely man that I always respected and enjoyed spending time with.”
“Years ago, when I worked with Frank Brunger he had spent many years working in the rock business standing in front of giant speakers and was deaf in one ear. We had great fun being mildly cruel standing just in his peripheral vision and mouthing as if we were talking. He would spin round and cup his hand to his ear ‘sorry, I’m deaf in this ear due to Ozzy Osbourne’ and we’d crack up.
Frank was a lovely man and a joy to work with. He’ll be much missed.”
“Frank was a great guy and always so supportive. He loved the industry and it was a real shock when I heard the very sad news.”
Simon Heller, former Warner Vision colleague
“It was a lovely service and standing room only reflecting how popular Frank was.”
Adrian Ball, former Warner Vision colleague
“A bit of history: my first job on the video trade press back in the dim and distant past was Sell Through Editor on the long-gone Video Business magazine. I was brought in to boost its coverage of the nascent video-to-buy business, usually, at the time, known as “sell through”, or in various hyphenated and American versions of that (“sell-thru” still makes me shudder). This coverage would, in turn, boost the advertising, or so the theory went. And that’s when I first came across Frank Brunger, then at Columbia TriStar. Evangelical in his zeal, Frank wanted to remove all reference to the phrase Sell Through. “You have to call it Retail Video,” he’d urge me, adding it was the only way it’d be taken seriously. Eventually, inspired by his fervour, we took the plunge and changed the name of our coverage and plumped instead for Retail Video. Before long, I’d launched a magazine called timecode, devoted predominantly to this fast maturing market. Our style guide, and ones developed subsequently, all forebade the phrase “sell through” in all its forms and you rarely hear it used at all. And that, as I often remind people, is all down to Frank Brunger.
“Our paths crossed frequently over the years, none more so than when he was at Warner Vision. Insightful when talking about the industry, passionate about not just his own titles but beyond that too. He was always good company and a perfect host too – I remember him vigorously defending one industry character after a train journey in first class when a another passenger criticised him for what he was saying (“you should have been in cattle class,” ran the criticism”). As the host, he later told me, he had a duty to defend him no matter what.
“And then, of course, there was the music side: once I’d found out his past in the record business, his time at EMI chaperoning the Sex Pistols on the Anarchy tour, the promos he had stashed away, I’d quiz him endlessly mining his memory for anecdotes and stories.
“I last saw him a few years ago at an industry reunion night and he was on fine form, wearing a garish old promotional leather jacket and enjoying the comments being thrown in his general direction.
“It was a throwback to the old days, a genuine reminder of the way the industry used to be. Frank is the kind of person who was not only the kind of person who made the industry what it used to be – witty, sociable, passionate – but also one of those who helped the industry, especially the retail business, become what it is today. He will be sorely missed.
Tim Murray, The Raygun
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